Coastal Transportation’s YouTube Series

Here’s the second episode of “Sailing to Alaska with Coastal Transportation”. This one covers days 2 to 4 of the voyage, through the Inside Passage.

The six episode series covers a voyage from start to finish in all its mundane glory. No drama. No lectures. Just a glimpse into a hidden life.

And a cooking show, which has nothing to do with the voyage, but everything to do with the best seafood in the world—Alaska wild-caught seafood.


Hot Damn that is one shiny clean engine room! Your crew sure has something to be proud of.

I’ve always been a believer in the saying that if you don’t know what it looks like when its right you’ll never recognize what it looks like when its wrong. Coastal Standard looks like she sets the standard.


I enjoyed watching them wipe the back of the stairs. Atta boy.

Episode 3 comes out tomorrow.

I already have my money down on the scene that will draw the most energetic comments…

1 Like

Episode 3: Crossing the Gulf

After leaving the Inside Passage of BC, the Coastal Standard crosses the North Pacific in winter. As temperatures drop, the seas get higher. Rain alternates with snow. Approaching the Alaska Peninsula the OOW keeps a wary eye out the windows to gauge the ice build-up on the hull. Other than that it’s a typical mariner’s life: clean and repair.

Kasia makes king salmon for dinner.


How can you see with those deck lights forward?

1 Like

At short scenes like at minute 2:53 the lights are on just because the cameraman needs a scene of what the ocean looks like at night. But at 5:20 in the blizzard the captain is doing SOP: several times during the watch he will turn on the lights and observe the rate of icing on deck and hull. If the rate is rapid he would need to change course. He can only do this with the deck lights on, for a few minutes.

When icing happens on our route it usually happens near the Alaskan Peninsula. Polar winds spill down across the Bering Sea, then get even colder as they cross the mountains of the peninsula.

The closer you get to the harbors of places like Chignik on the south side of the peninsula the colder the wind can get and the higher the velocity. If you don’t pay attention to the rate of icing you can find yourself in a race between reaching safe harbor and having several feet of ice on the boat.

The worst time for this is mid-March.

The ice build-up can go from nothing to two feet in a matter of hours. If the rate of icing is dangerous the captain might alter course to keep his distance from the peninsula until the wind dies down, or the direction shifts away from the north.

In the worst case scenario he would need to put the wind on the stern until the icing stopped.

With our present fleet the hazard is not so much stability. The boats have large margins of initial stability. It is the fact that a foot of ice on deck would stop all cargo ops until temps rose. We use power demo hammers and chain saws for ice removal but even with these tools trying to free up hatches , rigging, and cargo from ice can take days.

So the captain turns on the deck lights every half hour and watches how fast the ice is building up…


Beyoody, thanks.

When I departed with a full load I sometimes wondered about hooking up a PC to a accelerometer to measure ship’s rolling period.

Of course smart phones come equipped with an accelerometer. just checked, there is an app for that.

I wonder if it would be useful to precisely track changes in rolling period? Don’t know about that trade but our stability booklet had a table of rolling period / GM.

1 Like

It works but it goes out of calibration too often to be more useful than just timing it by hand.

The sensors in use for the pilot programs of parametric rolling would probably work if they could be made affordable. All the currently available GM alarms are too prone to false readings to really be useful.


I’ve been enjoying these posts and videos about Coastal Transportation operations. Thanks for sharing them. I worked a season on a Bristol Bay tender and we ran a load of cargo up and back from Everett. I got proficient with the binders and enjoyed the challenge of lashing a load of cargo, including processing equipment, fuel tanks, and deck loaded vehicles. We used the “industry standard” cheater bars.

In the other thread, I appreciated the discussion of safety protocol vs. what has been demonstrated to work. To me, using the cheater bars never seemed egregiously dangerous, if handled properly. Running a chainsaw on an icy deck, however, seems sketchy as hell :grimacing:.


Here is where OSHA regs help. The operator need to wear chainsaw chaps and chainsaw helmet. Most importantly (and not envisaged by OSHA), anyone walking on an ice-covered deck needs to wear crampons.

When we look at statistics for injuries on our vessels, the #1 cause is slips and falls on the same deck. They aren’t frequent, and rarely need a doctor’s visit. But if they happen on a dry deck in good weather they’re going to happen more on an icy deck. So we stock the boats with crampons to be worn over the crew’s insulated boots

1 Like

Some years ago we spoke about the possibility of something like this with our captains and a marine electronics expert, to avoid cargo shifting. But the difficulty was pointed out by one of our best captains. He said his particular boat, with which he had years of experience, could roll 20 degrees and not be in danger of shifted cargo and yet in a different circumstance of 20 degree rolling it would be.

Amplitude and roll period were the same; there was just something inexpressible in the one case that made the difference. The way he could tell when to change course to avoid cargo shifting was this: When he set his coffee cup on the dash and it stayed in place everything was fine, regardless of what the clinometer said. But if the coffee cup moved, then he know he had to change course.

It wasn’t roll period. It was some third movement, or combinations of movements, which caused the shifting condition to occur. So we asked the electronics expert if there was anything commercially available that would be able to gauge this condition.

He said no, but that was a few years ago. Maybe there is something now.

Instrument the coffee cup. :wink:

1 Like

Here is a preview of Episode 4, “Dutch Harbor in Winter”.
The episode comes out this Wednesday.

A heavier then average motion would be some combination of motions, likely sway and roll.

One container ship I was on had a black box (literally) attached to a PC which measured acceleration and sounded an alarm when some value was exceeded. More or less constant in the Gulf of Alaska in winter.


Here is Episode 4 of “Sailing to Alaska with Coastal Transportation” : “Dutch Harbor in Winter”.

Typical cargo operations for the Coastal Standard. Unlike the other four boats in the fleet, which use Ebel-rig cargo gear, she uses two sideport cargo elevators which can move cargo to any of her three decks.

The elevators also travel horizontally away from the hull to bridge the distance across the water to the dock, where the forklifts pick the loads right off the elevator platforms. When the forklift driver unloads the platform they press a button on a remote and the platform returns back to where it started from.

Theoretically, two people, one on the boat, the other on the dock, could load/unload the entire boat. Realistically, there is dunnaging and securing to be done, taking additional people. Still, compared to our operations 30 years ago the boat loads 4 times the cargo in 1/5 the time.

The boat also has a roll on/roll of platform for vehicles on deck, which we’ll see in the next episode…


Episode 5 of “Sailing to Alaska with Coastal Transportation” comes out tomorrow. This one has lots of spectacular drone footage of Dutch Harbor in summer.

Here’s a preview.

Episode 5: “Dutch Harbor in Summer”

Lots of great drone photography in this one. In the summer, from a distance, the Aleutian Islands look like Hawaii. (In the winter, not so much.)

We move ahead six months from the previous episodes, to show Coastal Standard in Dutch Harbor surrounded by green tundra and fog. The deck crew “slushes” the wire rope rigging for the vehicle ramp, and lashes down cargo before the boat makes the short hop to Captains Bay. The run takes little more than an hour but it exposes the boat to Bering Sea rollers.

The mooring lines are cast-off as the boat gets underway to call at different docks in Dutch Harbor (aka Unalaska) and Captains Bay, picking up cargo bound for Seattle.

The chief engineer is always busy. When he isn’t monitoring the engines or balancing electrical loads on the switchboard, he is changing filters, using a unique system of drainage.

Kasia outdoes herself with a mouthwatering meal using luscious Pacific cod, wild-caught in the Bering Sea.


Beware, winter is coming to Alaska:

1 Like